The case began not in St. Louis, but in either the small Washington, D.C. suburb of Cottage City, Maryland or Mount Rainer. There seems to be some debate about this because there have been a couple of different houses that have been identified as the home in question. As most readers already know, what has come to be known as the "St. Louis Exorcism Case" would go on to inspire William Peter Blatty's 1971 best-selling book and the movie based on it, The Exorcist. In the novel, a young girl is possessed by a demon and is subjected to an exorcism by Catholic priests. In the true story though, the subject of the alleged possession was not a girl but a boy who has been identified in various accounts as "Roland" or "Robbie Doe". Robbie (as we will call him here) was born in 1935 and grew up in this area. He was the only child of a dysfunctional family and had a troubled childhood.
AFTER THE EXORCISM…
Robbie left St. Louis with his parents 12 days later and returned to Maryland. He wrote to Father Bowdern in May 1949 and told him that he was happy and had a new dog. Robbie was a normal, typical American boy of the late 1940's. No matter whether you believe in demons or possession or not, most can agree that "something" very strange happened to him in 1949. If you believe that he faked the whole thing, then consider the trauma that he must have experienced when the joke went too far and he found himself subjected to an exorcism, which is certainly not a pleasant experience. If you believe that he was truly possessed, or even mentally ill, then we have to consider him a victim of an unexplainable horror. The only person who knew what really happened during that terrible winter and spring was Robbie himself and he never spoke about it again. Those who gently tried to prod his memory soon learned that he had only dim recollections of what had occurred anyway.
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